Amapiano is the fastest growing genre in the world right now. Popularised by the likes of Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa and Tyler ICU, amapiano originated in South Africa and is characterised by its blend of jazz, deep house and use of the log drum.
The amapiano craze has spread across the continent, particularly in Tanzania, where artists put their own twist on the South African genre, mixing with their country’s own music, aka Bongo Flava. Bongo Flava grew out of traditional Tanzanian music in the 90s, and incorporates RnB, reggae and afrobeats.
Here are WAT’s picks of the most exciting new tunes to come out of Tanzania.
Rayvanny, Diamond Platinumz, Jux — Yaya
Yaya is a soulful and glossy tune from Tanzania’s biggest hitmakers. Rayvanny, for instance, is the country’s first artist to hit 100 million streams on the African-music focused streaming service Boomplay, and Diamond Platinumz is the most awarded artist. The track is drawn together by amapiano percussive bass lines and the accordion hook is a nod to Tanzanian taraab music.
Alikiba FT. MARIOO — SUMU
The new collaboration between pioneer of Swahili amapiano Marioo and Bongo Flava megastar Alikiba is not only a smooth summer hit, it’s also a cautionary tale. Sumu is a Swahili word meaning poison, and the song cautions against taking out loans you can’t repay and starting illicit affairs with married women. The music video features several backup dancers pushing lawnmowers (in between dancing). Perhaps, like Sisyphus, the cheaters and debtors are eternally damned to cut the lawn.
Whozu ft. Billnass — AMEYATIMBA
I have a lot of time for this flute hook (regular readers will know I love a good flute drop) and the addictive beat will surely make this a regular feature on club playlists. This year has seen rising singer Whozu making music with fellow Tanzanian artists Baddest 47, Marioo and S2Kizzy. Ameyatimba is the latest in his string of singles and this time he’s joined by rapper Billnass.
Chino Kidd ft. Fid Q, DJ Joozey – Kibabe
Kibabe has already clocked up half a million views on YouTube since its release at the end of July. This is a guaranteed floor filler, and the music video spawned a dance challenge on TikTok with users trying to recreate the footwork. Chino Kidd was originally a choreographer before moving into the limelight himself, for him music and dance still go hand in hand. In an interview for The Citizen Tanzania he explained, “When I write a new song, I always dance in my head, creating all the dance moves and styles before I even put out the song.”
Rolex Aiz ft. Amber Lulu – Sina Wazimu Huo
Model, actress and artist Amber Lulu has teamed up with singer Rolex aiz (also sometimes spelt Rolex Eyes) again following their 2021 collaboration Nimeachika. Sina Wazimu Huo flows smoothly through a textured instrumental and the duo’s catchy chorus chant. Amber Lulu’s Goli released in June is another big tune also well worth checking out.